Warner Bros has reached a deal with Japan’s largest cable channel operator, Jupiter Telecommunications, to offer films through its high-definition PPV VoD channel at around the same time as their DVD release.
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button will be the first Warner Bros title on offer under the new arrangement from July 15.
Films typically reach VoD in Japan approximately one year after their theatrical run in the territory. The new agreement would see a VoD release window of 4-5 months, timed with the DVD street date. Current Warner Bros films on theatrical release include Gran Torino and 17 Again.
Jupiter employed a test run last November with the day-and-date release of Warner Bros’ Speed Racer on DVD and Jupiter On Demand. The strategy marked an industry first for a Hollywood title in the territory.
The announcement follows a three-year deal between Warner Bros and Jupiter announced earlier this month to broadcast 80 of the studio’s titles on special channel Movie Plus, as reported on Screendaily.com.
Despite a rapid increase in the Blu-ray market, overall revenues of Japan’s rental and sell-through video market plummeted more than 10% in 2008, pushing contents companies to strengthen VoD services.
Jupiter Entertainment is a channel operation subsidiary of Jupiter Telecommunications, one of Japan’s largest cable and internet providers under the J:COM brand.